Wed 2nd Dec 2015
Safe, reliable and sustainable energy key to helping Northern Ireland attract private sector investment
Ann McGregor (NI Chamber); Minister Mark H Durkan and Carla Tully (AES UK & Ireland) pictured at the latest NI Chamber Minister on the Move event.
Safe, reliable and sustainable energy is key to helping Northern Ireland attract private sector investment – that’s according to its President, Carla Tully, who was speaking at the latest ‘Minister on the Move’ event held in Carrickfergus earlier today.
Ms Tully hosted Environment Minister Mark H Durkan, the Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) Ann McGregor and over 50 businesses from across the region at the Kilroot Power Station as part of the business led initiative by NI Chamber in partnership with American Airlines and British Airways.
The ‘Minister on the Move’ initiative provides businesses with an opportunity to speak directly with Ministers from the Northern Ireland Executive at a number of locations across the province – whilst also providing them with an opportunity to hear the inspirational success story of a local company, hosted in the company’s facilities.
AES UK & Ireland is Northern Ireland’s largest electricity generator, owning and operating the Kilroot and Ballylumford Power Stations, both in Co. Antrim. The company continues to invest to enhance security of supply, support decarbonisation targets, and create value for customers across these islands. Investment at the two Northern Ireland plants have focused on environmental upgrades, energy efficiency, and the introduction of energy storage to the market. AES is currently installing a 10 MW energy storage project at Kilroot, due online by the end of 2015, which will be the largest and only transmission connected battery of its kind in the UK.
Speaking at the event, Carla Tully, President of AES UK & Ireland, said:
“AES has been investing and doing business in Northern Ireland since 1992, and we welcome the opportunity to showcase our innovative projects to the Environment Minister and other local employers.
“As Northern Ireland’s largest generator, we keep the lights on for homes and businesses, helping to attract inward investment from companies in need of safe, reliable and sustainable energy. AES is nearing completion of the UK’s largest battery energy storage array at Kilroot Power Station, which will help to unlock value from existing renewables and support security of supply.”
Ann McGregor, Chief Executive of NI Chamber, said:
“For the most intensive users, energy costs are some of the highest in Europe. Whilst cost is an issue in the short term, security of supply is critical in the long term, particularly for inward investment. We must address the security of supply issue by ensuring the Moyle Interconnector is at full capacity and by strengthening interconnection of the electricity grid with the UK and Ireland.
“NI Chamber wishes to place on record its support for the proposed North-South Interconnector with particular reference to the vital role it will play in facilitating sustainable development for its members throughout the entire Northern Ireland region.”
The event also provided an open forum for delegates to share their views with Environment Minister Mark H Durkan, who said:
“It is vitally important that business and government regularly get together for the benefit of our environment and economy. Environment in the past has often been seen as a block to business. It shouldn’t be.
“The theme I set for all of my Department’s work is ‘A Better Environment – A Stronger Economy’. Economic development and environmental excellence can go hand in hand. There are many, many jobs to be created in protecting and enhancing our environment. Businesses can become more efficient and profitable by becoming greener. And they should be recognised for it. Last year I signed the World’s first Prosperity Agreement. Under Prosperity Agreements, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency redirects resources from red tape processes that create little value, to actions that support businesses in improving their environmental performance. Only businesses that are environmentally responsible and compliant are considered for such an agreement. By improving efficiencies and reducing waste these Agreements are helping us to move towards a Circular Economy.
“It has been heartening to hear locally in Carrickfergus, how companies are successfully competing on the global market and how companies are investing in energy efficiency and carbon reduction. Discussions here today at AES Kilroot, reaffirm my belief that ‘good for the environment, good for business’ is achievable through cooperation, innovation and strong leadership.”
The next ‘Minister on the Move’ event takes place on 6 January 2016 with Health Minister Simon Hamilton at Randox Laboratories in Crumlin.
Further information is available at: